Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Corporate Prisoner

Lawyer Cites Visa, MasterCard as Assange’s Release Delayed

British Judge Howard Riddle may have approved Julian Assange’s release on bail, but the WikiLeaks founder remains held for at least another 48 hours over a pair of rows with the Swedish government and America’s major credit card providers Visa and MasterCard.

The Swedish government has appealed Assange’s release on grounds that he poses a flight risk. The judge’s terms of release would require him to submit to a curfew, electronic tagging, and to report to the police every evening.

But perhaps the bigger problem is that the assorted supporters of Assange who are putting up the 240,000 pounds in bail are being told that they have to put up the entire amount in cash, because Visa and MasterCard have barred contributions to WikiLeaks.

According to Assange’s lawyer, who insists that the detention is turning into a show trial, he was told credit cards could not be used for the bail. Visa and MasterCard denied having put any bar on making payments to the British court system.

The 48 hour delay in Assange’s release for the appeal appears to be little more than a formality, as Judge Riddle has expressed annoyance at Swedish lawyers’ refusal to produce any evidence against Assange in their extradition request. The struggle to come up with all that money in cash might take a bit longer.

So, lets see ... just so I understand this.

There's no evidence to hold Mr. Assange. The British judge is criticizing Swedish officials for their 'refusal to produce any evidence against Assange'.

But, Mr. Assange is still in jail. Apparently because Visa and MasterCard want him in jail.

The rather obvious question would seem to be, if there is no evidence produced against Mr. Assange he, why is he forced to produce 240,000 British pounds in order to gain his freedom? For a fair and just legal system, the rather obvious course to take when there is no evidence against a prisoner is to release them. Instead, despite the lack of any evidence, Mr. Assange is forced to surrender 240,000 in cash, and then submit to harsh restrictions that force him to check in with authorities every day.

Gee, I wonder what they do when they actually have evidence against someone?

The way this is going, when someone shows up with the required 240,000 to gain the freedom of the man against whom there is no evidence, they'll probably be arrested just for carrying so much cash. After all, if you don't use Visa and Mastercard and instead carry large sums of cash, you are automatically regarded as suspicious and a probably criminal.

Welcome to the world where the banks run everything. If Visa and Mastercard want you in jail, then you stay in jail. Who cares about courts? Who cares about evidence? Who cares if you have friends who have the where-withal to meet this ridiculous bail amout? Visa and Mastercard want him in jail, so they refuse to process the payments. Thus, Visa and Mastercard appear to have a final veto on anyone being released from jail.

Hopefully, someone leaks the diplomatic cables between USA and Sweden and Great Britain over this fiasco. It seems rather obvious that indispensable nation that promotes freedom around the world is responsible for both the weak charges against Assange as well as this farce in the British courts.

And, aren't you glad you elected Obama and got so much change from what Bush would have done in this situation? Ever get the feeling that Obama spends his days staring at a sign on his desk that reads "What Would Dubya Do?" before making every decision?

Love those around you. Give them love this holiday season, instead of gifts. And if you do feel the need to buy them something, pay with cash. Don't use your Visa or Mastercard. Pay with good old fashioned cash, and hit them where it hurts them.

Update: Now its apparently the British government overturning the ruling of its own judge and deciding to arbitrarily keep Mr. Assange in prison. This is why the colonies decided that some sort of basic ground rules in the form of state and federal constitutions were a necessity to secure real libery.

Which reminds me. We just had Bill of Rights day. A celebration of the time when the ruling elite of this country gave in and allowed the people of this country to have a Bill of Rights. In exchange with, we the people of this country allowed the government to form and gave it certain powers to protect and secure our liberties. Remember that without the Bill of Rights, the Constitution would never have been approved.

The Bill of Rights are not optional guidelines to be enforced only when convenient. Instead, these are the rules set by the American people for the US government as the essential conditions for the very existence of the US government.

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